Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The main problem in meditation

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According to the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, grasping is one of the barriers in meditation.
It does not however say, grasping what. But I think we all know what is meant -- the grasping of experiences -- having some sort of a pointer, a bookmark, a landmark or a level that one believes one has reached.
Constantly discussing what one experienced with others who are either having similar or more "awesome" experiences. A sort of kitty part of meditators:)
Referring to books and then mirroring one's experiences with what has happened to that author or hoping/praying/believing that one has had similar experiences.
Looking forward and looking backward to the "progress" in meditation.

The thing in meditation is to give up all such craving -- which is actually a sort of extroversion of the mind and complete opposite of introversion, though it pretends to be that!
And to realize that in Being, one cannot have a past or a future.It is just a state of mind that too, will pass.
"The real glory of meditation lies not in any method but in its continual living, experience of presence, in its bliss, clarity, peace and most important of all, complete absence of grasping. The diminishing of grasping in yourself is a sign that you are becoming freer of yourself. And the more your experience the freedom, the clearer the sing that the ego and the hopes and fears that keep it alive are dissolving, and the closer you will come to the infinitely generous "wisdom that realizes egolessness:" Sogyal Rinpoche

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What is the best meditation to sort spinal problems

One meditation keeps coming up in the Bihar school of yoga's prescription for backache -- all sorts of spinal problems -- and that is ajapa japa.

Why that is so, is not very clear? But for me the most trusted words on any therapy is the Bihar school, especially the words of Swami Satyanandaji -- he has the last word on everything and I have followed his words as if he is talking to me, directly through his books.

Ajapa Japa I also learnt as part the Bihar school of yoga workshops which I used to attend avidly though I had a little baby (who'd be with a baby sitter) and a terribly demanding job as a journalist and I lived in the truly far-off suburb Kandivali East those days, and travel back in train and hop into auto and reach home, dead tired, but somehow elevated for that terrible stress I'd put myself through (leaving a baby attended by a baby sitter will always be the toughest thing I'd chosen to do, as part of my yoga travels and experiences. But somehow maybe it was a sacrifice worth it, because my child is a woman now, and with a powerful yoga practice that came tangentially and was never imposed on her and she loves her practice:)

I'd learnt Prana Vidya too, and have often practiced it, to heal myself from a terrible attack of coughing bout which has, mercifully left me now despite having throttled me most of my life.. so I believe in meditation is the key to sort all problems. I am seeing how difficult it is however to promote it:(

But since I started working with the singing bowls, the idea of chanting as is prescribed by ajapa japa makes immense sense to me. It is a vibrational energy that you unleash. And it must be impacting the cells within.. if you read my singing bowls blog you will see the UCLA link I've provided that shows how the cells are "singing" all the time. When the tune is out of kilter, that is when things go kaput. I think as with the bowls, so also ajapa japa is setting the tune back on track, and that is why it is healing.

And soham, says Swami Satyanandaji, is the best mantra for this practice. It is Sri Prasadapara(the mantra of sublime grace) and that is the sound your breath as it rhymes insidel 21600 times a day..

So beautiful, and such a simple way, to heal. Ajapa Japa.

 (The image below is of swans, from the link I've attached. I used the image of the swan because the sound so-ham, said backwards, is ham-sa, meaning swan, and that is the nature of the mind which can ingest dirty water (life/karma) and intuit the real (ultimate truth) underneath the muck)

Monday, July 14, 2014

The asuras and devas in your own body: chakra map

I hope the charts are self-explanatory. Always,the  funniest thing when you are a yoga teacher, is to see how keen everybody is to make the higher chakras flow, especially the third eye. Actually, in itself it is a wrong aspiration. The need, if you are into chakras, is to have all chakras flow in a state of balance. In fact, those whose higher chakras are overflowing are prone to delusions, self-grandeur, depression, lunacy, spacy thinking etc.! To have one chakra flow at the expense of others(for how else can it overflow) is like wanting a river to overrun its banks and kill and ruin the land through which it flows..
Below the good and bad of each chakra, according to Anodea Judith's book on Chakra Wheels of Life, which I have used largely as my ready-reference on the topic. I also like Harish Johari's book on this and lately been reading the Psychology of the Chakras by Richard A Jelusich.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Exciting secrets about the power of trataka

(From one of the genuine meditation and raja yoga sites I recommend it to those who wish to have audio guidance for meditation and yogic dharana).

Apart from the effect on eye health and vision, these below are little known benefits of yogic trataka:

Harish Johari says this about trataka practice:
* It enhances the growth and development of the pineal gland
* One-pointedness of the mind
* Develops "witness consciousness" of the mind; the step back from itself.

Swami Satyananda, my very favorite guru, says this:
* It creates a higher sensitivity of pineal gland
* Greater impact on the hypothalamus which is involved with the sympathetic nervous system (aroused mental state) and parasympathetic nervous system (repairing mode of the nervous system);
* The individual's several states -- pleasure state, wakefulness/alertness/focus state, sleep and pain states.
* Blocks out hyper activity of the brain/restless or disturbing thoughts
* Sensitivity to higher vibrations.

These are the areas of the mind involved with psychic abilities and extra sensory perception, clairaudience and telepathy.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Gratitude, as a state of yoga

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I am guilty of confessing that my association with gratitude has been more in transgression. Too late, at 51, to find out that one is a cribber?! Maybe not, if you believe in rebirths, that somewhere now, this moment, if the awareness is complete, you may actually power yourself out of any mire.

So, yes, I realize, when I crib about the rains, that I also want it. When I crib about having to get up early mornings without the opportunity of a Casual Leave(oh, to be employed, once more, only for that paid leave luxury:) that I forget how happy I am that the rest of the entire day  is my own -- a luxury very few people, who work and earn. When I crib about giving the best of practice time to my students, that I forget that I  am grateful for so many who have lasted so many years with me, and a lot of my strengths as a teacher comes from each of them, and that I have learnt a lot in giving, from their being around.  Every short coming one has had, and has, is also a blessing in some way.

I realize this gratitude is a tricky thing. For instance, maybe you are not grateful because you feel cheesy thinking of the cosmic energy as some Godfather doling out goodies. But even if you did not think cheesy things, does it stop you from cribbing? If you did not crib, you are grateful. But which of us does not crib.

I realize we are caught between the devil and the deep sea. For one, we think being grateful to the cosmos is cheesy. The other side, we think if we did not crib, it means we are complacent, and are going to be stuck where we are, painting ourselves into a corner. This latter, I think, is why many of us who are action-oriented find it so difficult to be grateful. We shoot ourselves in our foot, when we do that.

No, it is not I who found out this amazing truth.

I am reading Louise L. Hay (and her friends') book titled  "Gratitude A way of life."

Here is something that may make sense from that book:
"Think about how you feel when you give a gift to a person. If the person looks it and her face falls or she says, "Oh, it is not my size, or not my color, or I never use anything like that or is that all there is." then I am sure you will have little desire to give her a present again. However, if her eyes dance with delight and she is pleased and thankful, then every time you see something she would like, you want to give it to her,whether you actually do or not.

"Gratitude brings more to be grateful about. It increases your abundant life.

"The Universe always gives us what we believe we deserve. Many of us have been raise to look at what we do not have and to feel only lack. We come from a belief in scarcity and then wonder why our lives are so empty.

"What Universe hears is:"I don't have and I am not happy," and that is what you get more of."

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In yoga, I understand, this state comes from a quiescent mind which is indifferent to pleasure or pain. It is quiet because it is content, which is the same shade or another expression of gratitude.

This state of yoga is the nirvikalpa Samadhi -- here we can move about, live a full life, doing our duties, but unagitated by either good or bad that befalls us. There is no anxiety, no desire, no propulsion despite the dynamism. It would be a difficult state, but Yoga Vashishta says this state of yoga is where the mind can offer worship at the alter of intellect and be able to control and discipline the wild elephant of the lower mind. Then, so, gratitude is a state of the higher self...

Maybe that is why it is so difficult to experience that as a continuum.. and that is why we are amazed at our prophets, that they feel that, and we look up at them, aspirationally.

But why should gratitude be so difficult to achieve as a state of mind. That is an interesting thought..

Yoga Journal, which I earlier used to look askance because it would not cover the mind aspect of yoga (without which it is not yoga really) has been taking up such topics too. Here is there article on gratitude for those who wish to take this idea further. In fact, there are several articles on the subject there that would be worth pursing.

Btw. my little guru Prachi Malik had this to say. As usual, she got it compact and so-correct: that for a complete sense of gratitude, all the chakras have to be balanced.

That makes so much sense.. maybe that is why we cannot be grateful. Until all our disharmonies are cleansed away:)

Monday, July 07, 2014

Now Yoga Kuteer in,  which is popular amongst tourists and others keen to know what's brewing in the queen of suburbs, profiles Yoga Kuteer, here
(Image is of Jahnavi Sheriff, my daughter( classical Bharatanatyam dancer, hip-hop dancer, and yoga instructor)

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Chakras-- the darker side to a colourful tale

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I have a sense of absolute trust with what Judy Hall says, about certain things. She sounds wild, and dramatic and dreamy; she makes witch potions seem like soups you must have, if you know what I mean:)  You walk through the looking glass and enter a mad world of talking caterpillars and disappearing cats, when you read her book. I started reading them sheepishly, feeling ashamed of this irrational side to myself opening up. But you know, much of our lives, the real thing, it comes from a wild, unknown place. Everything else appears a dream, as with A midsummer night's dream:

“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,"

I have this book by Judy Hall, The Intuition Handbook, which is a book I dip in and out, nervously, because much of what she says, mmmm, very different, very odd, but what we all secretly believe in --about things that go bump in the dark!

Here, as I was glancing through, piqued again by the book and its suggestions, I stumbled upon this full chapter on chakras and the darker aspect when they are "stuck open".

Root chakra: Can draw contaminations from the earth.
Sacral chakra: Can suffer emotional hooks from someone we love or have had a sexual relationship.
Navel chakra (on which she spends some amount of ink): "Can be contaminated by your own emotional baggage" and that of someone else. Invasion and energy leeching  also take place  through this chakra unless you learn to open and shut it at will.
Heart chakra/higher heart : (nothing negative here is said ?!!)
Throat and third eye chakra: Strong beliefs block these chakras. Throat chakra block can rise from your unvoiced intuition. In the third eye block, you will open yourself to thoughts and influences  from others as well, not just from the earth from other spaces. "Premonition of doom" is what you feel.
Inner ear chakra (behind the ears): Feel harassed by voices /sensitivity to noise.
Crown/higher crown: if these are open, you will connect to being who do not always intend you well, though they may appear to be masquerading as the highest possible guidance.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Constipation cures, read on

My last column in talks of how constipation can be the silent killer. Here, in this one, the cures and simple ones, to sort out constipation forever.. in,

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Where do you focus, while up in the Brahmacharyasana

Drishti is everything for an advanced student .. that means a point of focus which introverts the mind and shuts down its extroversion. In Brahmacharyasana, the point of focus is the mooladhara chakra (root chakra) or the pelvic region. Or the navel center, the manipura chakra.

I just found out an interesting benefit of this pose, for women: rectifies uterus prolapse, which means it tightens the abdomen. Wow! How much there is to learn, in yoga.

Swami Satyanandaji (from whose book I accessed the above info) also says that it tones the abdomen and induces the pelvic lock and the vajroli mudra automatically.

Finally, Brahmacharyasana !!

This pose is usually easier for men, because they have naturally stronger upper back. For women, unless they are strong swimmers (or tree climbers, ha ha) this can be quite a challenge.
So, yes, I have posted this pose several times, getting it on and off, and often for dissatisfying short periods of time (ten seconds is what a phone timer is normally set to:)
But today, I proudly claim with that I am very comfortable in this pose. That is because I decided, as I am wont to do, work around the pose by cleaning up its preparatory poses.

So, whole of last week I worked on the lolasana (cradle pose), with the lotus leg lock. I tried to chunk it up, and hold it overall for one minute, which is why today I can so the Pose of Self-restraint (Brahmacharyasana means that, really)

I found out this humbly enough, while demoing it to a male student who was not able to do the squatting crow (that's what I call the dwipada bhujapidasana/two-legged shoulder pressing pose).
I did the preparatory leg folded at the knee and lo, when opened the legs, it was up in Brahmacharyasana. I held it long enough, despite the overwhelming surprise, to determine if I can actually do it.
What you need:
* Upper back strength.
* Core strength.
* If you do not have either (and you will be surprised how elusive and difficult to cultivate either are, especially if your bones are dense and your are super- muscled -- because the heaviness of your health itself will drag you down, and no jokes) you must spend considerable amount of time in lolasana/cradle pose with the knee bend inwards (if you can't do the lotus) or the lotus-leg-locked cradle pose.
* Comfort in ekapada bhujapidasana (one-legged shoulder press pose too)
* Also ability to be comfortable when retaining breath -- because as a beginner in some poses like this it would be difficult to breathe because the breathing will break the pose. So being able to do a demanding muscular move without breath and be comfortable enough, that is very important.

Happy sadhana!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Unknown factoid about Sirsasana benefits

Swami Satyanandaji (he is the best writer -- where  terrific connections are concerned,between the physical and spiritual and emotional aspects of yoga practices) says the pineal gland gets the second largest supply of blood per unit weight (next to the kidney). The headstand facilitates this blood flow even more, explaining why this pose can be used a meditative pose in itself. It can calm the mind. Ahead of pranayama and meditation, it can  heighten awareness, and hence may be used as a preparatory poses for either.

Five mistakes u want to avoid while learning the headstand

They won't teach this in most yoga schools, or insist on this. But here are five things you want to avoid as you begin the exciting entry into the headstand.

  • Never compromise on leg raises, especially the one where you lift the head off the floor (what I call the Sivananda leg raise:) It protects you from any injury, accidents, that may happen if you fall, as you are likely to, as a beginner. It makes the neck strong and able to withstand any fall. It also makes the neck strong, since for a few seconds as you lift up in the headstand you are going to take the whole load on to your neck. Plus, it protects the neck against the stress a beginner exerts on it initially. A beginner will strain the neck because till the coordination falls in place, a person tends to put the load of the pose on the neck. It is also held in a contracted fashion to avoid too much movement during breathing -- this is inevitable. But often this can injure the neck in the long run. Since all this is too technical, you must know the only way to grow in the headstand is to keep on practicing the leg raise. Not as an exaggeration, but as a matter of fact -- the more leg raises you do, the more control you get in the headstand.
  • Do not become attached to a particular spot of practice. We all have such choice places -- for various reasons -- more breeze in, closer to a friend, near a wall, or away from a wall. However, to be able to do the headstand anywhere, believe it or not, requires getting used to seeing the world upside down. A lot of even advanced students will be surprised how disoriented they feel just by shifting their mat to another place. If you remember the headstand is used to control the mind (which gets so disturbed by trivialities) then, you will force yourself to move about.
  • Never hold the headstand in a stiff, rigid fashion. Most people hold it like this because they feel it looks awkward to sway with every breath (ho, really, a lot of people do yoga because they feel it makes them look hot and so manage everything they do on the mat around it, including cheating wildly in a pose so their neighbor, who can only see this peripherally, is very impressed. Like, duh:) Breathe, breathe, breathe. Only when you draw proper breaths and feel the stomach cave in during every exhalation are you holding the headstand properly. Otherwise you are likely to get pain in the lower back and the neck, plus the ugly paunch (from the spine curving in) and a double chin (by working the muscle at the neck).
  • Do not try too many variations unless you mastered the basic supported headstand. Once you mastered a soft entry, in the prescribed classical style, learn to hold the headstand long and steady before you go into variations. Trying a lot of variations is good fun but to really say you can hold them, you need to first learn to do the basic, supported headstand for five minutes or more. Otherwise the variations will come, but go away from your body, just as fast. Just jumping into a pose and out of it does not require much stamina from the mind or body.
  • Never have water or any food ahead of inversions. You are going to make your epiglottal flap very loose and that will lead to acid reflux eventually. It is very foolhardy and dangerous. There should be a two-four hour gap between meal and inversions for sure.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

What the intuitive say: about the cause of constipation

Louise L Hay blames
  • Stinginess
  • Sticking to the past, not letting go
  • Stuck to old idea
Crushing indictment from Swami Shankardevananda (Bihar school):
  • Constipation of the mind
  • Greed(from anxiety, insecurity)
  • Closed personality (from a misguided sense of self-preservation)

Why constipation can kill u..

Five ways how constipation can slowly kill you, here in, my article:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Why the lotus? Behind the spirit of a pose..

If you did yoga for a while, it is very important that you crack everything joint you have, to get the lotus:) I am joking. Initially it is a very painful pose, but it comes with practice but usually, those who suffer it as a tough and painful pose, will not believe this. I know this because I myself spent a year or so working on it, when I started yoga in my mid-thirties.

The other day somebody was saying which course is the best. I don't why people think I should know. I myself see that no course can really give a great insight into yoga anatomy. I myself have picked up most of what I know about yoga by reading anatomy books, especially the ones that connect the mind to the body. Neuroscience is the word you want. Most of yoga anatomy is that connection. Without appreciating and intuiting why this is so, you possibly will not wake up to the wonder of a pose. How can a teacher reach the magic of a pose or insist on the technique and abide by it, if the connection is not made. This may explain why a lot of teachers do a mish-mash on their own, hoping not to lose "customers" by making it too tough and pretending to give them an hour-long class without taking themselves the trouble to connect with a pose or its energy.

The lotus, as with all meditative poses, is where a tremendous pressure is required to build up in the ankle joint. If you see the brainmap (homunculus man) the ankle is closest to the uro-genital system. The latter is who we are as a person, all our impulses, hormones really, pretending to be the mind. This explains why a meditative pose chooses to control these impulses, and help us rein in the beast in us. This has nothing to do with sexuality, as most people wrongly and immediately assume. It has to do with simple emotions: nurturing, greed, love, caring, cherishing, social concerns, charity, generosity, avariciousness, envy, competition, anger, anxiety, and so forth. All those are also triggered by the uro-genital system, and have such boring names like oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin, etc.

That is why lotus is important -- it is the reins we are asked to hold, to control the beast in us:) So we can move on, towards the sublime...

Gorakhasana, pose of the Rishi: a "bliss" pose

This the second stage of another asana, called Padma Parvatasana(Lotus in the mountain pose). In the latter, the arms are lifted up, held parallel, or in Namaste, to resemble a mountain. This pose, who those who know yoga lore, is named after the yoga great, Gorakhnath, whose stories are legendary and exciting.
I have on-off tried this pose, with the sense of, oh-it-is-never-going-to-happen-in-this-lifetime feeling. But lately, I realize that sort of negative preparedness itself is a block. All the books suggest that this is a tough pose, so obviously that aspect of the pose must be respected. If you check out instructions for this pose online, you will find that it is implied that it is easy!! I mean, they suggest that you get into the lotus and just hoist up, and hello, you are there.
But Swami Satyanandaji suggests that you use a wall in the front to break a fall,and work on it first by staying with the wall close by. Iyengar put the right spin on this, by saying that even a few seconds of balance in this pose fills one with elation. Sooo true.
What I felt:
* You do need to use a wall. Swamji says face the wall. I found having the wall behind was easier for me, somehow.
* Initially you need to tilt the torso ahead, to get the feeling of the hip, lower back muscles needed to hold the pose in place. It is actually being held by the awareness of these muscles, so that is what you must focus on cultivating.
*Leaving one hand is easy.So you should try this focus I discussed after leaving one hand.
* I stood only for a few seconds, but this pose, to be claimed, requires a minute (then, only asanajaya/victory over the pose) or more of focus.
* Points of focus: some dot/focus must be fixed by the eyes, to be able to hold this pose longer.
* More than anything, pure balance and focus.
*I found Gorkshasana version easier than the preparatory Padma parvatasana, which suggests to me that these are two separate poses(somewhat like the pinchamayurasana/peacock feather pose and scorpion /vrksasana)
Yes, it is a bliss pose, I tell you. It feels good to be able to negotiate it. I myself have been worrying myself silly about some stray cats I am trying to protect and shelter. But this pose suddenly worked on those worry lines. Next shot, I hope to be smiling and not looking so tense, and without the timid forward tilt:)
There are many but these are some unusual ones credited to this pose
  • Removes nervous tension (I agree, I agree)
  • Works the coccygeal part of the spine, making it elastic..Mmmm, I have to work on it longer, to see if my vestigial tailbone has become any better!
Happy sadhana!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Chakras and your musical note and your personality: see the link here

I found this bit in Swami Sivananda's book on Music as yoga. I am currently doing an online course music therapy course, to understand the powerful healing that is caused by the Singing bowls. The other day, btw, I had a sweet student who just heard that I had done singing bowl course in Nepal and said she wanted to do it too. I think that is fine. But the bowls are soooo related to the chakras. I cannot understand what intuition you will tap into if you do not have the deepest understanding of this field. If you did not connect with bowls and just saw it as an exotic source of income. I can see where that comes from: People see images of some Westerners wearing exotic eastern costumes, looking super solemn, with a distinct halo of a healer around their heads, and suddenly they want it for themselves.. I decided to start giving bowl sessions only after a year of being with and practicing the bowls and even know feel way behind, like a learner asked to enter wonderland and trying to grips with it... this healer thing, na.. its been the worst thing that has happened to alternative therapy. Everybody is a healer nowadays, hee hee. There is a good reason why this has happened. This incident should explain this better. One of my students with an advanced teacher's training certificate course from my ashram, she had a knee problem (from being overweight, I could have told her, for free:) Then, instead of doing yoga to heal, she goes to a tarot card "healer" and hands over Rs 5000 to be told when she will heal. I am NOT joking. I want to tell my students who want to be yoga teacher, that's a tough thing to do. Become a tarot card reader, it is easy and great money:) Nobody will even bargain with you, as they do (or try to) with me:)
Any case, my cathartic outburst (phew, feel better now:) over, here is the link, in my Singing bowl blog  I started this recently, though I am no healer!!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Are these happy things or stressful ones? Check out the list below for a surprise

In this article for, here, I give a list of five things which we think are fun but which the body perceives as high-stress. In this list are new entrants to the family, your baby:) a holiday (believe it or not); wedding (especially if it is your own); and more

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sadguru Swami Sivananda's gentle admonition to Jnana yogis

 "Some students who are studying Vedantic books think that they are Jnanis and they ignore Asanas, Pranayama, etc. They also should practise these, till they are perfect in Shat-Sampat of the Sadhana-Chatushtaya—Sama, Dama, etc.,—the preliminary qualifications of Jnana Yoga."

Pranayama: and why the classical structure must be adhered to

Last week  I had a walk-in student. She did yoga, but with lots of errors. She said her teacher was a very soft. That meant that he was not pushing her and she admitted that since it was a private yoga class, she was possibly entering the class with low energy, since she could hear her baby in the other room and somehow that meant her mind was not fully in the practice. She also said that her yoga teacher had created an amalgamation of his own practice.
Her anulom vilom, despite the fact she was a healthy woman, had no ratio and was just an inhale and exhale, as one round!! Her teacher had also done several courses so she trusted him.

Its not a puzze why her yoga classes possibly gave her only 20 per cent of what she is capable of. Private classes are like that.Most teachers will not take more
effort than what the student offers, because the relationship is somehow that of a customer. To fight that, you need to be  tough and you need to a teacher. Not an instructor. And when some teacher says he or she has created a style of his or her own, run a hundred miles away from that person! The classical style is what will give you benefits. Any watering down in the name of innovation is just an excuse for watering down the practices so the customer-instructor relationship is not jeopardized. This happens with the best,because to cling to the classical style of yoga, perfect and complete, calls for guts.

Here, my Sadguru Swami Sivananda, on the benefits of pure pranayama (from his book, and sent over email to the guru's followers by one of Bihar school of yoga, Priyadarshan Pradhan. If you need to have his mailers on your email, you can connect with him on You can also catch news on the fantastic programmes by the Bihar school  of yoga if you connect with him here).

The velocity of the mind will be slowly lessened by Pranayama. It will induce Vairagya.

If you can suspend one inch or digit of breath inside, you will obtain the powers of foretelling; if you can suspend two inches within, you will get the power of thought-reading, for suspending the breath for three inches, levitation; for four inches, psychometry, clairaudience, etc; for five inches, moving about unseen by anybody in the world; for six inches, the power of ‘Kaya Siddhi’; for seven inches, entering the body of another man (Parakaya Pravesa); for eight inches, the power to remain always young; for nine inches, the power to make Devas to work as your servants; for ten inches Anima, Mahima and other Siddhis; and for eleven inches, you will attain oneness with Paramatman. When through great practice the Yogi can perform Kumbhaka for full three hours, then he can balance himself on his thumb. He undoubtedly attains all kinds of Siddhis. Just as fire destroys the fuel, so also Pranayama destroys the bundles of sins. Pratyahara makes the mind calm. Dharana steadies the mind. Dhyana makes one forget the body and the world. Samadhi brings infinite Bliss, Knowledge, Peace and Liberation.

During Yogic Samadhi, the flame of the Yogagni (fire of Yoga) extending from navel to the head melts the Amrita in the Brahmarandhra. The Yogi drinks this with joy and ecstasy. He can remain without food and drink for months by drinking this Yogic nectar alone.

The body becomes lean, strong and healthy. Too much fat is reduced. There is lustre in the face. Eyes sparkle like a diamond. The practitioner becomes very handsome. Voice becomes sweet and melodious. The inner Anahata sounds are distinctly heard. The student is free from all sorts of diseases. He gets established in Brahmacharya. Semen gets firm and steady. The Jatharagni (gastric fire) is augmented. The student becomes so perfect in Brahmacharya that his mind will not be shaken even if a fairy tries to embrace him. Appetite becomes keen. Nadis are purified. The Vikshepa is removed and the mind becomes one-pointed. Rajas and Tamas are destroyed. The mind is prepared for Dharana and Dhyana. The excretions become scanty. Steady practice arouses inner spiritual light, happiness and peace of mind. It makes him an Urdhvareto-Yogi. Advanced students only will get all the other Siddhis mentioned above.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Why the lotus is amongst the best meditation asanas?

Padmasana directs the flow of prana from mooladhara chakra in the perineum  to sahasrara chakra in the head, heightening the experience of meditation.

Swami Satyananda Saraswati.

The lotus and its spiritualism, in poses

The only book which gives a rather detailed list of how to prepare for this terrific pose and the major benefits of this spiritual pose is the Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha by Sw Satyanandaji Saraswati.

He gives list on how to prepare for this pose -- including cutting down on things that are difficult to digest, including yogi's favorite food, the  milk!! Then going for easy-to-digest foods. The list is given in the book which is must-have for any aspiring yoga practitioner, and of course, THE bible for the real yoga teacher. If you have not read the book even once, mmm, you really are not fit to teach yoga...

I had a nit-wit of a student, and I say that very objectively, who wanted to do this pose before trying the basic mayurasana. Though this pose is easier than the basic peacock, you still need to have mastered the core aspects of the basic to try an advanced variation. Where it is easier:  you lift the legs far higher, plus  there is more -- literally --elbow room for breathing.

Swamiji also says that for women especially this pose is easier. As an aside I must say that there is a rather imbecilic belief that some poses must be tried without having any commitment even to practice. I had a student, who decided that since she was going off to Canada, she must learn "all "of yoga in a month. She would look at someone who would try the scorpion and insist she do it. Let me tell you I am amongst the few teachers who really prods students to try advanced poses. However, it is puzzling to me when students who do not know their left leg from right suddenly, out of a purely "commercial" motive (Read that to mean"I want it fast without too much investment in practice, time or commitment, and the fee be damned") want to do more for less... Mmmm... every pose is live, and it would be insulted if you woo it like that!! I have a former beauty queen who has been pestering me to give her a yoga teacher's certificate after coming for a few hours ...Arrrghh!! They trash the value of this marvelous AND demanding science..

Anyways, to revert to this pose,it is  really rather easy once you get the basics of the peacock right.

But so many students who cannot do the lotus.. so here, they get stuck:(

What you need for this pose:
* No fuss over the wrist pain -- believe me the wrist pain you get in hamsasana goes in a few weeks of regular practice.
* Ease in holding the lotus/padmasana
* Ease with the hamsasana (swan pose)

All books say this of the peacock:
  • If you can do this, in a month, your body will be rid of hidden toxins.
  • You can digest anything
  • Like a peacock which can kill a snake, this pose, will destroy all poison.
Purity... that's the promise in this pose

Happy sadhana!!